George Politis works mostly in pure watercolor, but every so often he likes to stretch his creative wings. He recently led a watercolor class through six simple steps for combining watercolor paint, fluid acrylics, and acrylic inks—pouring, collaging, stenciling, and mark-making to his heart’s content. And now he’s sharing his exciting process with us!
Mixing Media and Techniques
By George Politis
I like to push the limits of watercolor. I experiment and look for creative ways to express my ideas, feelings, and responses to what I see around me. Although most of my work is still in pure watercolor, I don’t restrict myself to it. Instead, I use collage, acrylic inks, gouache, gesso—anything that I think might help me produce a strong, interesting painting.
Step 1: I painted this piece as a demo in a workshop I gave in Torres Vedras, Portugal, in the summer of 2017. Working intuitively, I started by pouring washes and applying a few layers with a flat brush to create a dynamic underpainting. I then collaged tissue paper and newspaper shapes to the surface using acrylic matte medium, and stenciled some letters and shapes using white acrylic paint.
Steps 2 and 3: I then gradually darkened the colors and tried to create some depth. I work (as most watercolorists do) from light to dark, so the first layers have more water in the mixtures. I gradually use more paint and less water as I move through the layers of color.
Step 4: I applied white acrylic with a roller and a brush to cover parts of the painting. I let some of the previously painted area and various textures show through.
Step 5: I used several photo references to make a sketch of a protester, which I then cut out to use as a stencil. I applied black acrylic ink over the stencil, creating interesting positive and negative shapes that would define the figure. Then I added some red to the surface to suggest the protester’s passion and pain.
Final Step: I did some more stenciling, darkened some values to create greater contrast, and added some calligraphic marks to finish Stand up for… (15 x 22 in.).
- Daniel Smith Watercolors
- Golden Fluid Acrylics
- Schmincke and FW Acrylic Inks
George Politis is an internationally acclaimed artist. He’ll be conducting workshops in the United States, Greece, France, Belgium, and Japan in 2018.
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